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Participation of Colombia in the United Nations During the Period 1945-1995

Chapter VI:

Colombia on Racism and the Descolonization Movement


The conclusion of the Second World War brought as consequence the weakening of Europe and with it of its imperial colonies. At the time the San Francisco Charter was signed, a huge portion of the globe was governed as colonies, fundamentally in Africa and Asia, but also in other regions, including America. This situation was in open contradiction with the new realities of the political world and with the intention and values of the Charter. At the same time, during the war many inhabitants of colonial territories were incorporated into the armies that fought against the Axis Powers, and in this activity they received not only military training that they then used in their national liberation battles, but also an awareness of their rights. For this reason, it is no coincidence that the end of the war coincides with the decolonization movement that would reach its heights especially during the fifties and sixties. The San Francisco Charter devotes Chapter XI to the euphemistically called "Non Self-Governing Territories", that is colonial (Arts. 73 and 74), Chapter XII to the "International Trusteeship System" (Arts. 75-85) and Chapter XIII to the "Trusteeship Council" (Arts. 86-91) that is 19 articles out of a total of 111.

Colombia has traditionally supported the decolonization movement, with strong conviction in the beginning, in a more subtle form during a period of the fifties and actively again since 1957. Let's take a look:

Colombia took part on the Security Council for the first time during the years 1947-1948. During this period two topics were presented on this point that marked the pace for Colombian positions in the future. The first was the matter related to international recognition sought by Indonesia in its struggle for independence from Holland. The case was taken to the United Nations and Holland alleged that it was an internal matter, the reason for which it did not fall under UN competence according to numeral 7 of Article 2 of the Charter which states: "None of the provisions of this Charter authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters that are essentially of internal jurisdiction of the States, nor will it oblige Members to submit said matters to settlement procedures according to this Charter; but this principle is not opposed to the application of coercive measures as prescribed in Chapter VII". Alfonso López Pumarejo, who presided the Colombian delegation, stated categorically on several occasions with respect to UN competence in dealing with matters of decolonization .

The other case was that related with the complaint presented by India against South Africa for the discrimination peoples of Indian origin were subjected to in that country. The topic of racial discrimination in South Africa captured the interest of the Organization for the greater part of its existence; the problem of apartheid was taken up by it for years until it was solved by a plebiscite in 1992. As a consequence of this, the regime in power finally accepted racial equality and granted fundamental rights to the Black community as citizens. Beginning in 1946 resolutions on discrimination in South Africa had focused on the treatment peoples of Indian and Pakistani origin were given "but resolution A/7/616 of December 5, 1952, constitutes the beginning of treatment given to the problem of apartheid in a more global sense, given that it poses the question in terms of racial conflict in South Africa, provoked by the apartheid policy of the government of South Africa".

When a complaint was presented in 1948 about political discrimination in South Africa, this country also argued that the UN had no competence over the case, due to the fact it was an internal situation. The Colombian delegation, presided by López Pumarejo, categorically supported the competence of the Organization and stated that the principles of the charter must not be left as simple declarations. Moreover, it proposed that the International Court of Justice decide the matter and its competence be acknowledge to "be able to oblige member states to immediately modify their internal legislation that is discriminatory in matters of race, sex, language or religion". The proposal had several transcendental implications: first, something Colombia has maintained as its position, which is the legal judicial treatment of problems and broadening of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The Colombian proposal advanced the subjection of human rights to judicial treatment of problems and broadening of jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. The Colombian proposal advanced the subjection of human rights to judicial treatment and in the sense that their universality be acknowledge. Likewise, it was very clear in its position that in cases such as that, States could not argue they were internal matters in order to prevent the involvement of the Organization. The Colombian proposal extended India´s against South Africa, given that granting jurisdiction of these matters to the International Court of Justice in terms of proposals, implied that it would affect all countries with discriminatory laws and practices. The Colombian delegate, Alfonso López Pumarejo, argued that the problem of racial or religious discrimination was of and international order and for that reason fell under the jurisdiction of the United Nations, without the States signing the Charter which establishes these principles being able to argue that it was an internal matter pertaining to its own legislation.

Colombia´s position on these topics varied during the early fifties. At that time the Cold War was in full swing and Colombia had aligned itself with a profoundly anti-Communist vision that led it to consider allies of that doctrine anyone who held a political position not considered orthodox. The fact that some of the national liberation movements received support from the socialist camp, or that in movements against racism there were Marxist sectors, influenced that temporary change in orientation of the country´s foreign policy. Colombia, obviously, did not support any type of explicit colonialism or racism. Quite the contrary, it condemned them, but in practice, its representatives to the United Nations hampered the treatment and solution of these problems with reasoning of a legal nature. Let us look at two cases:

Colombia formed part of the Security Council for the second time during the 1953-1954 period. The problem of Morocco, as a French protectorate was taken before this body. In 1951 Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia with the support of Syria and Yemen, forwarded a petition so that the General Assembly of the United Nations would take up the issue of Morocco, under the title "Violation by France and Morocco of Charter Principles and the Human Rights Declaration". France requested that the inclusion of this topic be denied and "argued reasons of opportunism and local circumstances, as well as the traditional solidarity of the Western countries and collaboration with the anti-Communist front in the United Nations". The issue was postponed until the following session, in which the Colombian delegate argued the Organization did not have jurisdiction to treat the case, based on the principle of non-intervention of the United Nations in matters under a country´s internal jurisdiction. In September, 1953, the Arab League nations passed a new request that the topic of Morocco be included on the agenda. In the debate raised by this proposal, the Colombian delegate, Francisco Urrutia Holguín, upon objecting, made an analysis of the situation of the protectorate of Morocco and based the argument of the Organization´s lack of jurisdiction over the matter on the argument that it was an internal issue, on which he said: "It is essential, in my view, that we do not meddle in their internal affairs so that this country can act in full freedom and independence". And immediately softened his position with the following words:

"trust that our friends, the representatives of the Arab countries, understand that if we vote against the inclusion of this topic on the agenda today, it is not because we do not share the wish of all Arab countries to obtain the independence they have a right to, but due to the problem of the competence of the Council, which in our view cannot study what happened in Morocco without violating paragraph 7 of article 2".

In mid 1954, a group of 18 countries requested that the topic entitled "The Algerian Question" be placed on the agenda of the General Assembly. The Colombian delegation objected to considering said topic also based on the fact that it was an internal French matter.

With respect to the topic of South Africa and apartheid, which had been presented repeatedly at every General Assembly, in the face of that country´s failure to comply with abolishment of discriminatory and racist laws and practices, the Colombian delegation changed its position with respect to that which had been sustained by Alfonso López Pumarejo in 1948. During the course of the VIII Assembly, it was decided to name a Commission to study the racial situation in the South African Union. The Colombian delegation opposed the formation of said Commission in the name of non-intervention in internal affairs, "notwithstanding its irrevocable position against all acts of racial discrimination". Ambassador Juan Uribe Cualla spoke on behalf of the Colombian delegation and reminded the audience that Colombia had given its vote to propositions along the lines of the one presented but that now it objected because it did not clearly see the jurisdiction of the United Nations to occupy itself in these matters which dealt with the internal order of the States:

"I must say that in my opinion and in that of the Colombian delegation, it is a matter of an essentially internal matter that is not subject to international jurisdiction…It has been said that it deals with a precept of the Charter related to the assurance of human rights, but, on the other hand, it is well known that this definition has not been authoritatively established within this Organization yet, and at the same time, instead of bringing about beneficial and conciliatory measures, the intervention of the Committee and the Assembly on internal questions of the States runs the risk of provoking conflicts and incidents, that would then have international repercussions. Today the question is subject to the Code of Laws of the South African Union. It is the government of that nation, democratically organized that can decide, within its sovereign attributions, what claims are just and what petitions are acceptable from those formulating them under their rights as all citizens and settlers have raise petitions…I am the first to recognize that all men are the creatures of God with rights and ambitions and with similar concerns, but those aspirations of justice and peace cannot be pushed to the extremes of subverting the legal order of the Organization to which we belong".

A political change occurred in Colombia on May 10, 1957. The military government of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla was replaced by a temporary government, the Military Junta, which remained in power for a short time while the political space was made and the then uninterrupted cycle of civil governments was initiated beginning with Alberto Lleras Camargo (1958-1962). This internal political change was immediately reflected in Colombia´s international positions, and particularly in the UN, where its foreign policy returned to the channels that had inspired it at the San Francisco discussions and during the first five years of the Organization.

At that time what would later become the Civil and Political Rights Agreement and the Economic and Social Rights Agreement were under discussion. These agreements were later approved by the United Nations in 1966. Ambassador Germán Zea Hernández, on behalf of the Colombian delegation expressed the change in attitude in relation to all these topics during this discussion. The Ambassador stated that their position had been uncertain in the part period due to the internal situation of the country, "and today the panorama has changed completely, and we will no longer have the least inhibition in supporting and voting on them with the greatest enthusiasm, given that the principles they embody are those that have formed the essence of our nationality, and are inseparable from its history".

The effect of the change in internal political circumstances was immediate. So that there should be no doubt as to Colombia´s positions with respect to colonialism, apartheid, racism, human rights and the jurisdiction of the United Nations to supervise them, the Alternate Ambassador for Colombia, Alberto Zuleta Angel spoke the following words on the legal and ethical parameters on which Colombian foreign policy has been based in these matters:

"…There is the Commission, a perfect agreement on that concerned with the reproval of measures and procedures adopted by the South African Union on racial segregation. It is a situation that worsens day by day in spite of the recommendations from the United Nations and that, without a doubt, require condemnation by the universal conscience. There are no discrepancies with respect to this within the Commission.

The Colombian delegation considers that the General Assembly has jurisdiction to occupy itself with this important issue, given that it is true that Art.2, paragraph 7 of the Charter, prescribes that the United Nations cannot intervene in matters that are essentially under the internal jurisdiction of the States. It is also true that the Preamble to the Charter, as well as articles 1, 13, 55, 56 and 62 establish for the signatory States the duty of respecting human rights; these provisions establish international obligations. It is wise to remember that according to Article 2, ´All members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them, in accordance with the present Charter´. It is clear that the fulfillment of international duties is not and cannot be a question of the exclusive competence of a State.

All delegations agree on censuring the discriminatory racial policy existing in the South African Union. But there is not agreement in reference to the legal aspects that this problem presents; in fact, some Delegations sustain that the United Nations has no jurisdiction based on the already quoted Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter. The honorable delegates from Argentina and Peru, in interesting presentations, have dealt with the principle of non-intervention, considered, reasonably as one of the fundamental principles of American International Law. In this respect, the Colombian delegation considers it necessary to state:

a) It is evident that the principle of non-intervention forms and essential part, since some years ago, of what has been called American International Law. It is true, furthermore, that this principle cites article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter. The Colombian delegation reaffirms its adhesion to said principle, just as it was formulated in 1936 by the Interamerican Conference in Buenos Aires, and such as it appears presently in the Charter of the Organization of American States. But at the same time, it considers that the United Nations can and must occupy itself with the racial problems of the South African Union, without this implying, in any way, a disregard for the rule of non-intervention established in article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter. Indeed, this provision speaks of matters under the internal jurisdiction of the States and, as stated before, we are now before a case of violation of international duties, clearly expressed in the UN Charter, duties which the Member States must fulfill. Compliance with ant international obligation cannot be considered a matter under the exclusive competence of the obliged State, but rather a question that interests the entire international community in the utmost.

This is not a matter of internal order, but rather and imminently international question: respect for human rights. On this topics, and illustrious treaty expert on International Law observers that respect for the fundamentals rights of man is so closely linked to the international public order that the United Nations Charter, by placing such a principle at the beginning of the Preamble, made it the basic infrastructure of the world peace organization. From this we may deduce that violation of said principle constitutes a threat to collective tranquility. The Swedish delegate rightly observes that procedures such as those used in the South African Union are extremely dangerous due to the strong reactions they can provoke.

The fundamental rights of man, by being expressly stated in the United Nations Charter, were included in Positive International Law; and therefore, the internal legislation of a signatory country to the Charter cannot contradict the provisions of it which recognize such rights. If it does so, it is committing a violation of positive international rules which are of obligatory compliance. It has been said that the South African Union cannot be required to modify its internal law. On this point, it may be said that according to the most authoritative international legal doctrine, the constitutional and legal provisions of a State must be in keeping with obligations contracted by the State as a member of the international community. We well know that what is now called International Constitutional Law precisely deals with the conformity that must exist between the Constitutions of the States and the international commitments acquired by them. It is not necessary to adopt the theory stating that International Law should prevail over internal law, given that, even within what is known as dual theory, it is admitted that international rules accepted by a State imply, for it, the duty to incorporate them into internal law"

With respect to decolonization, the Colombian position was systematically one of support, but without situating itself on radical ground, trying to mediate "but without aggravating friendly nations". In 1961, more than forty of the 99 states belonging to the United Nations belonged to the Afro-Asian block and their weight as the group of non-aligned countries, which obviously supported decolonization, was ever and ever greater and was becoming determinant within the Organization. In support of the decolonization process and against the arguments sketched out against it to the effect that peoples that wanted to take up an independent life were not yet mature enough for their independence, Ambassador Germán Zea reminded the Assembly that this type of argument had also been launched against the independence of the Hispanic-American countries and for that reason:

"We do not believe then, in the argument of lack of preparation of peoples in order to delay or postpone recognition of their just right to manage themselves. Neither can we accept the thesis of having as an integral part of a territory, for purposes of nationality and submission to sovereignty, holdings on distant continents with ethnically different populations and as to which there are on legal titles other than the right to occupation and conquest, and many times a bloody conquest. We consider that the United Nations Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples must be applied without delay or limitations, that Colombia voted without reservations and being fully cognizant of its extent and scope. We have problems of this type on our own continent that we hope will be satisfactorily solved in a short period of time".

Colombian Ambassador Edmundo De Holte Castello, was President of the Consultative Council of the United Nations for Somalia. Colombia also took part on the "Special Committee for Territories under Portuguese Administration", created by Resolution 1699 in the sixteenth period of sessions, 1961 of the General Assembly.

In 1982, the Colombian Ambassador to the United Nations, Carlos Sanz de Santamaría, explained Argentina´s rights over the Falkland Islands as an issue of decolonization. In his words, Colombia defends the Argentinean cause because of its anti-colonialist tradition, because it is aware of the fair title Argentina holds to exercise full sovereignty in the territory that was object of the confrontation and because "the provisions of the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples was applicable to the Falkland Islands"

In 1982 the war broke out between England and Argentina for possession of said islands. Diplomatic negotiations took place basically before the Organization of American States and Colombia, although it supported Argentina´s rights, did not agree to their having used force to secure their rights. With the change of government in Colombia from that of Julio César Turbay Ayala (1978-1982) to Belisario Betancur (1982-1986), Colombia´s position was noticeably modified in that it gave very strong support to the Argentinean position. The failure of the regional mechanism in the OAS, the inefficacy of TIAR in an armed conflict against a State outside the hemisphere, as well as the North American position were decisive in the change of attitude. In this sense the words of Colombia´s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rodrigo Lloreda Caicedo before the UN General Assembly in 1983 are very significant:

"Colombia is not, and never has been, in favor of forceful solutions to conflict. It deplores, therefore, that in the case of the Falkland Islands, the lack of a peaceful solution during a prolonged period and the persistence of colonial practices has led to de facto situations, and that all efforts at conciliation to avoid the armed confrontation have failed… Great Britain, following its military triumph, refuses to discuss the topic of sovereignty over the Islands. This position, although explicable in the light of recent events, will become unsustainable in the long run. The anti-colonialist decision of the majority of the countries will prevail in the end, including that of Colombia.

Behavior shown by the United States deserves special comment in this painful process. Its decision to abandon the neutral position initially assumed and lend economic, political and military support to Great Britain, caused justifiable indignation in Latin America. As a result of this episode, there is a feeling throughout the entire continent that the United States has little interest in the fortune or destiny of its neighbors. The North American attitude had, however, the positive effect of united the Latin American peoples for the first time in all of their history. This circumstance should be taken to best advantage to create effective mechanisms for joint action".


In southern Rhodesia, power had been monopolized by a white racist minority led by Ian Smith. This regime had unilaterally declared its independence form Great Britain in 1965 and contemplated measures to formalize the apartheid system already operating in the territory in 1969. The United Nations had imposed economic sanctions without having had much effect, due to the policies of countries such as South Africa and Portugal that refused to adhere to them.

This situation was discussed in the General Assembly of 1969, at which Colombia declared itself to be against the racist regime. Based on this idea Resolution 2508 (XXIV) was approved with Colombia´s affirmative vote. However, prior to the voting, ambassador Plinio Mendoza Neira stated some reservations with respect to paragraphs 7 and 14 which made reference to the eventual use of force in order to bring the regime to an end and the application of certain measures, provided for in Chapter VII of the Charter by the Security Council. Ambassador Mendoza Neira explained his position in the following terms, in the Report presented to the Chancellery on January 29, 1970:

"Colombia has already adopted a definite position in the Security Council with respect to the ´use of force´ to bring the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia to an end. Our representative in said body at the June 19th session of this year, explained the reasons he had to abstain from voting for the resolution proposal on the Rhodesian problem saying: ´Whin the sphere of the United Nations, African countries have found broad understanding in the Colombian delegation, together with fair and honest treatment and interest in their problems, not contradicted until now, and for which there is plentiful proof. If my Delegation has felt it necessary to abstain from voting in favor of the resolution on Southern Rhodesia, this is the result of the fact that the use of force constitutes a measure of very extreme gravity and consequences outside the foreseeable, which only after having exhausted all other systems may be resorted to and with the highest sense of responsibility that must characterize all acts by the Council". Colombia formed part of the Security Council as a non-permanent member in 1969. There, with respect to the topic of Rhodesia, Colombia, together with China, France, Finland, Paraguay and Spain, considered that the referendum and Political Constitution proposal prepared by the white minority should be condemned and effective measures should be taken against the regime.

In 1970, the Security Council took up the topic of apartheid again and condemned on July 23rd, violation of the embargo against Rhodesia, in force since 1963. This generated the debate which gave rise to the adoption of Resolution 282 (70) of the Security Council, which reiterated its opposition to the policy of apartheid and condemned violation of said blockade. This time Colombia voted affirmatively. The Security Council intervened with respect to the Rhodesia matter in March and November of 1970. On the first occasion, it issued Resolution 277(70), on which Colombia voted affirmatively, recognizing the danger Rhodesia´s situation posed for world peace and accusing both South Africa and Portugal of violating the blockade and condemning both these two countries as well as Ian Smith´s racist regime. On the second occasion, it issued Resolution 288 worded in very similar terms to the first.

Since its formation, Colombia formed part of the Council for Namibia, created by the United Nations in 1966. Up until the First World War, Southwest Africa (Namibia) was a German colony. During the conflict it was occupied by South Africa, which later received authorization from the League of Nations to administer that territory. After the Second World War, its administration was transferred to the United Nations, but South Africa refused to present reports on its work in said territory and continued to occupy it in spite of the petitions formulated both by the UN and the International Court of Justice so that it would at least undertake its administration under the rules established for international mandates.

The General Assembly declared the end of the mandate in 1966 and created a Council as legal administrative authority, Colombia forming part of it. However, the transfer of control over the territory was delayed by South Africa, giving rise to a national liberation movement known as SWAPO. In his address to the General Assembly in 1968, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Alfonso López Michelsen, referred to decolonization and racism in these terms:

"Under the auspices of the United Nations Organization, a gigantic process of decolonization has been undertaken over the last twenty years on several continents, bringing about, as a consequence, a new balance of power among the great empires. Never, in the history of man has such an immense redistribution of world power occurred, not as the result of an armed situation but the product of dialogue around a negotiations table. Some have acquired the status of super powers, while others, confined to their original territory, have seen their role on the world scene reduce without this causing major upset to peace. It has been a memorable deed in the chronicles of these twenty years to have undone several centuries of domination by the white race over other races, without the world´s political stability having suffered disturbances of great magnitude, such as those caused by the conquest of large sectors of Asia and Africa by European powers. There are still certain pockets of racism in more than one African area, but just as the process of integration in the international sphere has been inevitable, Colombia has no doubts that supposed supremacy of some races over others is also destined to disappear from the domestic order".

On October 31st and December 1, 1969, the General Assembly condemned the government of South Africa for refusing to abandon Namibia and called the attention of the Security Council to the issue. It was agreed then that a resolution proposal would be drafted and presented by two Asian, two African and two Latin American States (Colombia, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Senegal and Zambia). In the debate that arose over the resolution proposal, Ambassador Turbay Ayala spoke in the following terms:

"The Colombian Delegation is honored to be one of the countries sponsoring the resolution proposal which is currently under study in the Security Council. We have the privilege and responsibility of also being members of the UN Council for Namibia and for that reason we have been able to closely follow the process on this issue. We deplore that the government of South Africa has lent little, or to be more exact-no attention-to the attitude of the Assembly, the Special Council for Namibia and the resolutions of the Security Council itself".

Finally, Resolution 264 (69) was approved, on which all delegations except Great Britain and France voted affirmatively; the latter two abstaining. Colombia considered that although the terms of the Resolution were not as strong as many delegations wished, a step forward had been taken. In the month of July, 1969, the Security Council met again to discuss the topic of Namibia. During the debate, Colombia deplored South African reticence in abandoning occupied territory and, in spite of the position that it had had previously with respect to avoiding the use of force, it considered that it had become necessary to prevent greater deterioration in the authority of the Security Council.

On August 12, 1969, Zambia introduced a resolution pre-proposal cosponsored by other countries, including Colombia, which then became Resolution 269 (69), in spite of the abstentions of Great Britain, Finland, France and the United Nations. This Resolution recognized the struggle of the people of Namibia and warned South Africa that if it did not withdraw before August 4th, the Council would adopt other measures. The Namibia question was also considered in 1970. In that year, the Security Council adopted three Resolutions to this effect: No 276 (70) issued January 30th which stated, among other things, that the presence of South African authorities in Namibia was illegal, and therefore its acts in that territory were not valid and illegal; and Resolutions 283 and 284 of July 29th.

In 1978 the Security Council approved Resolution 435 which was intended to normalize the situation an it created the UNTAG (United Nations Transition Assistance Group in Namibia), but these efforts were entangled by South Africa´s continuing reluctance. In 1981 the veto of the United States, France and Great Britain prevented the approval of a resolution imposing economic sanctions on South Africa in order to pressure its withdrawal from Namibia. Additionally, the South African government manifested that it would not deal with the topic in the United Nations unless the Cuban contingent were withdrawn from Angola. Thanks to the good offices of the United Nations the so-called Joint Commission met, composed of Angola, Cuba and South Africa and issued the "Mount Etjo Declaration" dated April 9, 1989, in which the United States and the Soviet Union participated as observers and the parties promised to seek a peaceful solution the conflict and requested initiation of the UNTAG tasks.

Colombia, in turn, supported the so-called nine points presented by the African Group and restated in the Resolution proposal approved August 29, 1989. Said Resolution, No. 640 provided for fulfillment of Resolution 435, the dissolution of paramilitary forces, granting of guarantees for free and fair elections, and impartiality of the mass media. As the election date grew near in Namibia, the Secretary General reported on failure to comply with some provisions. Thus, the CAUCUS had to prepare a new Resolution proposal in which Colombia participated actively given that it was in charge of coordinating the activities of the Non-aligned countries in the Security Council. Colombia and Yugoslavia, representatives from that group, negotiated with the United States, France and Great Britain, representatives of the Non-permanent Members and non-members of the Non-aligned group.

Resolution 643, unanimously approved by the Security Council one week before the elections in Namibia, covered a diversity of aspects and emphasized some that had not been completely fulfilled. Ambassador Enrique Peñalosa, representative for Colombia, addressed the Security Council on behalf of the Non-aligned group and stated:

"The Non-aligned countries that submitted this Resolution proposal to the consideration of the Council would very sincerely have wanted it to be approved by an unquestionable and true consensus. Actually, we are not as optimistic with regard to Namibia´s situation as some are. If the report by the Secretary General is read with care and objectivity, anyone can conclude that there are many problems pending. Much has been achieved, but, for example, the news that has reached us today that Koevoet has finally been demobilized is a demonstration of the fact that the South African government failed to fulfill its obligations for many months. We have not been told whether that demobilization is a total one or a disguised demobilization, such as those that have occurred with other paramilitary forces in Namibia, the members shed their uniforms but continue to belong to the armed forces in reality, since they continue to receive their salaries form the South African government and, as is logical at any moment they can be reincorporated with a simple summons.

We are not optimistic because, for example, special measures for the elections have only been issued a few days ago when elections should take place next week. Neither does the fact that it is not very clear how Namibia will be managed from the time elections are certified until independence is declared exactly fill us with optimism. The Non-aligned countries share the concerns of the Brazilian delegation in this respect and we offer all our collaboration in filling the vacuums that undoubtedly exist in this area".

Finally, elections were held in Namibia between the 7th and 11th of November, 1989, in a free form. With the declaration of independence on October 1, 1990, the president elect, Sam Nujoma proceeded to request admission of his country to the United Nations, which was unanimously accepted.


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